It is clear that racial tension is alive and well in America. Nevertheless, I stand by my claim last week that racism is thoroughly disreputable.

Sure, it exists. You can find instances of whites murdering blacks and blacks murdering whites simply because of their skin color. But this doesn't prove racism is on the march. It proves that evil people kill.

A lot of my correspondents also groused that as a white guy, I can't understand racism (search). The thing that irks me about this argument is that it assumes only whites can be bigots. That's just plain silly. We live in a society that too often divides us into color-coded classes. Every college and university has clubs designed solely for blacks, Hispanics and other racial or ethnic groups. That's segregation, folks.

Then, of course, we get clowns who try to racialize everything. Jesse Jackson was at it last week, claiming his organization had received 300,000 phone calls, complaining of ballot irregularities in California. Like many of his generation -- my generation -- he's hooked on reliving the bad old days when racism thrived and Jim Crow was alive and well.

But the fact remains, things have gotten better. The racial barriers the confronted people my age aren't nearly as daunting for their children -- and younger kids get it: The top ten songs on the pop charts this week all are performed by black artists. White kids and black kids are less worried about racial tension than about doing well as they get older. Intermarriage rates are up. Interracial battery cases are down. You get the drift.

Racism is a very specific thing: It is the belief that skin color makes people different -- and that it's acceptable to discriminate against people because of that skin color. That argument, ladies and gentlemen, is a dead letter.

Or so says this Cracker.